Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Haitian Renaissance: Youth Paint a New Country

Rebuilding can take many forms, use different materials ~ but all to the same end.... renewal of spirit, hope, possibilities.

Islande Henry with one of her paintings on women's rights. 
Photo: Allyn Gaestel.

By Beverly Bell

"Everyone expects there to be a new problem daily in Haiti.  I can’t concentrate on problems each day,” said Roseanne Auguste, coordinator of a youth art program in the sprawling, under-resourced Port-au-Prince section of Carrefour-Feuilles. The program is run through the community clinic Association for the Promotion of Family Integrated Health (APROSIFA).

Roseanne swept her hand across hundreds of paintings and drawings waiting to be packed up for an upcoming art show. “And people come and say Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I hate to hear that. There’s so much richness in this country.”

Roseanne, who is director of APROSIFA as well as a nurse and community organizer, held up one painting. It featured two hands nurturing a brilliantly colored women’s head; the hands seemed to be helping the woman open her mouth. “They’re envisioning all this despite the earthquake,” Roseanne said. 

“These kids hear about violence every day,” Roseanne said. “We have to concentrate on what another country could be.  That’s what interests me. If we had cultural centers in each shantytown, imagine what we could do. Culture and citizenship… if youth came and talked about this every day, found different ways to express their views on the matters, we could have a different country.”

APROSIFA’s youth art program began in 2009 in a couple of cement-block rooms in the back of the clinic. A few professional artists donated their time to teach.  Today, 68 youth from ages 8 to early 20s are painting and sculpting. A few of the youth who began learning two years ago are now teaching the others.

The artwork represents the daily stuff of Haitian life, like forms of labor, scenes inside village huts, vodou imagery, and landscapes.

Read the rest of the story at otherworldsarepossible.org

Posted via email from Haven at Harbor Homes

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